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Hybrid catfish (♂Ictalurus punctatus X ♀Ictalurus furcatus) production: Does mixed-size production make economic sense?

Engle, Carole, Renukdas, Nilima, Park, Jeonghwan, Rees, Patrick
Journal of applied aquaculture 2017 v.29 no.3-4 pp. 245-255
Ictalurus furcatus, Ictalurus punctatus, catfish, coculture, fingerlings, hybrids, markets, production costs, risk, winter
Alternative management strategies will be required to produce hybrid catfish (♂ Ictalurus punctatus X ♀ Ictalurus furcatus) year-round to provide continuous market supply. Hybrid catfish fingerlings were stocked at 9,880 head/ha singly or in co-culture with sub-marketable (mean weight = 454 ± 16 g) hybrid catfish carried over the winter from a previous year’s multi-size trial. Economic analyses compared cost of production ($/kg of market-size fish produced) and cash flow of single- and multiple-batch production of hybrid catfish for a single- and two-year period. Gross total and marketable yields were significantly greater in the mixed-size treatment as compared to the single-size treatment, in spite of the significantly greater percentage of market-size fish (84%) in the single-size treatment than in the mixed-size treatment (71%). Cost of production ($/kg) was 4% to 10% lower in the multi-size treatment in the single-year analysis, but 18% to 20% lower when the full two-year cycle was assessed. Cash flow and cash flow risk were improved substantially with the multi-size treatment primarily because the overwintered sub-market-size fish from the previous year reached market size three to four months earlier than in the single-size treatment.